T is for Training Meme

Our illustrious leader, Maurice Coleman aka baldgeekinmd, challenged the cast of regulars on the podcast T is for Training to answer these 27 questions.  We had to limit our answers to one sentence.  So here are the questions with my answers bolded.

1.) Your One Sentence Bio

Coordinator Software Support and Training for Howard County Library, social web aficionado, budding photographer.

2.) Do you blog? If yes, how did you come up with your blog name?

Yes.  A variation on the name of my blog from Maryland’s 23 Things.

3.) What is your professional background?

Jacquelynn of all trades, mistress of some regarding work in the library (Circ[past], ILL [past], IT and training [current]).

4.) What training do you do? staff? patrons? types of classes?

Yes, yes and technology/social web based classes for both.

5.) What training do you think is most important to libraries right now

Technology based training – anything from social web to word processing to apps for mobile phones.

6.) Where do you get your training?

Pick it up where I can.

7.) How do you keep up?

TisforTraining podcast, Twitter (trainers group), blogs and RSS feeds – especially from the cast of regulars (they rock)!

8.) What do you think are the biggest challenges libraries are facing right now?

Funding and getting the respect they deserve as part of the education process within the community.

9.) What are biggest challenges for trainers?

The students, seriously you can teach almost anything but if the person is resistant….well.

10.) What exciting things are you doing training wise?

Nothing really other than using Jeopardy as a way to access if the class got it – they have fun and so do I.

11.) What do you wish were you doing?

List is too long to put here.

12.) What would you do with a badger?

Release it to the wild or give it to a wildlife sanctuary.

13.) What’s your favorite food?

Food!  Literally I love all kinds and they are my favs (but big on carbs and sweets unfortunately).

14.) If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

My cell phone because it would keep me connected to the world (assuming that I’d have coverage there).

15.)  Do you know what happens when a grasshopper kicks all the seeds out of a pickle?

Umm, it curls up inside and goes to sleep???

16.) Post it notes or the back of your hand?

Big Post-It note fan here.

17.) Windows or Mac?

LINUX!

18.) Talk about one training moment you’d like to forget?

My Twitter class for the public when within 10 mins of starting 2 people left which rattled me for the rest of the class.

19.) What’s your take on handshakes?

Firm has to be firm because wimpy just doesn’t do.

20.) Global warming: yes or no

Sadly, yes although if you judge by this winter you wouldn’t know it.

21.) How did you get into this line of work?

See blog post for how I got started in library biz – I feel into the role of training and discovered was good at it and people enjoyed/learned from my classes.

22.) Why is the best part of your job?

That I honestly learn something new every day!

23.) Why should someone else follow in your shoes?

Because they love to help people, love that ah-ha moment and love to learn themselves.

24.) Sushi or hamburger?

Sushi, definitely.

25.) LSW or ALA?

LSW without a doubt.

26.) What one person in the world do you want to have lunch with and why?

Hmm, would have to be some of the brains that work at Google because they are innovative and rate a high cool factor 😉

27.) What cell phone do you have and why?

MyTouch 3G (running on open source Android OS) because I love to stay connected and informed.

My fellow T is for Training folks and their answers to the questions:

Nicole Engard – The T is for Training Challenge

Polly-Alida Farrington – The T is for Training Challenge

Bobbi Newman – T is for Training Meme

Alison Miller – A T is for Training Challenge

Maurice Coleman’s Getting to Know All About Me Post

Betha Getsche – I Like Sushi & Libraries

Laura Botts – “C is for Challenge” at “T is for Training”

Heather Braum – T is for Training Challenge Meme

Jill Hurst-Wahl – Me. Coffee. Morning.

Pete Bromberg’s 23 things (minus 3): A getting to know ya post

Stephanie Zimmerman – A Get to Know Me Meme from TIFT

Marianne Lenox – 27 Questions (Supplemental Pictorial Essay)

Paul Signorelli – Paul’s Getting to Know Me Post

Lauren Pressley – 23 Questions with Lauren Pressley

Buffy Hamilton – 27 Questions with Buffy Hamilton

Jay Turner – 20 Questions for Just that Guy

Julie Strange – T is for Training Questionapalooza v 1.1

Angela Paterek – Getting to Know Me

Printing: An Ah-Ha Moment

Banning of incandescent lightbulbs
Image via Wikipedia

I have a love/hate relationship with printing.  Ask almost anyone I work with and they will tell you it is one of my “soap box” issues that I don’t hesitate to get up on and preach.  I haven’t given up on getting the message across that the web was not originally designed to be a print medium – it is suppose to be read on a screen not from a piece of paper.  I’m not naive, I know people will continue to print for many reasons.

I admit that I myself print things from time to time.  But it wasn’t until today that the love part of my realtionship with printing actually fully blossomed.  Our network administrator and #1 open source fan showed me a really cool feature on Linux.  When he was done I just sat there with my mouth open.  How had I not known about this before?  My life will never be the same.  Sad part is this would have been absolutely PERFECT to show my class yesterday (I was teaching our staff about our PACs and printing was one of the topics).  Alas, a day late in learning.

On my Ubuntu box he was showing me something to do with CUPS (common Unix printing system) when I asked him why was PDF listed as a printer.  He said “you can print to PDF”.  Huh?  I think I literally scratched my head and looked sideways at him.  Isn’t a PDF a form of a document how can I print to it?  What he meant is this – I can print a web site page as a PDF.

Oh the lightbulb went on, the clouds parted, the angels sang – AH HA!  I did a test.  Fantastic, just click on File – Print – select PDF.  It saves the page as a PDF on your desktop.  All those times I’ve been on a laptop, ordered something from a site, reach the confirmation screen and cant’ print (because at the time we didn’t have a wireless printer at home) are now behind me.  I’ve always just clicked File – Save Page As and wound up with a folder full of things that are required if I wish to view that screen again.  A PDF is sooooo much nicer and easier.  I can choose to NOT print it (just save it on my computer) or if I must I can print it.  Linux is just so cool.

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Blog Day Afternoon – Day 4

Little did I know when I came into work today it was going to turn into the day of blogs.

Day 4

It’s Thursday so I don’t have morning duties or bouncedback emails today.  After putting my stuff away I turned on my Ubuntu and Windows machines.  Checked my voice mail (was one regarding the email and spam settings that we had posted on the staff Intranet).

Moon Landing
Walked out into the public area after getting ice for my green tea and replenished my display celebrating the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.  Some folks might consider it wrong but I mixed adult non-fiction books with the children’s non-fiction.  Bottom shelf of the wedding cake was all children’s titles – they have actually been the hot items even though this display is upstairs in the adult non-fiction area.  My reason for adding the children’s titles to the display is often Mom or Dad have a little one in tow when they are upstairs, so why not have something for them on the same display.

Went back downstairs to Customer Service (the department formally known as Circulation) and picked up my reserves (several books on photography and a CD for hubby).  Back upstairs to my desk.

Opened Twirl and replied to a Tweet.  Checked both work and Gmail accounts.  Since revamping our Staff Intranet has been on my mind I logged into the backend of Joomla and made a few tweaks (from suggestions that staff have provided).  Then I moved over to the front end and checked to see if there were any helpdesk tickets to assign (yep a few but not many).

Emailed the Central Asst. Branch Manager regarding a tweak I made on the Staff Intranet.  It related to items she posted – combined her web guides from Enoch Pratt/SLRC into one location.

Closed a helpdesk ticket regarding a new staff member who had forgotten his email password – changed password back to default and it will prompt him to change it again.

Sent an email to all the branch managers asking them to clean up (unpublish and delete if possible).  In hopes that we can clean up lots of content that won’t need to be brought over to the new Intranet.

Now the start of the blog day —

Tweaked our main blog, Highly Recommended per the phone conversation I had with the editor on Day 2.   Moved the login on the front end to a less conspicuous location on the blog navigation area.  Then I added a new blogger to the list of contributors per the editor’s email

Wrote my blog entry for Day 3.  Sent an email to the blogger of Highly Recommended about the tweaks I had made so they are kept in the loop.

Answered the helpdesk phone line – question about accessing our Intranet remotely (from a new grandmother visiting her daughter and grandson in NC).

Then I began the afternoon of updating all our blogs which uses WordPress.  Luckily 3 of the blogs were not that old so I could just click on Update under Tools.  Open Source, This Is Your Life and Customer Service all upgraded with no problems.  I then had to upgrade Teacher Notes the hard way.  WHOO HOO, it went pretty smoothly and I didn’t mess anything up.  Okay 4 out of 6 went okay so I must be doing something right.

Call from Public Relations department asking for help with posting an article to our Choose Civility site which uses Joomla.  Walked him through a few things and corrected code that seemed to make the one video disappear even though we weren’t adding anything anywhere near the video on that page.

Got a lovely surprise, former employee Aileen Trout came in for a quick visit.  Aileen left us many years ago and moved back to her place of birth, Hawaii.  She hasn’t aged at all – I’m convinced living on the islands there is like the fountain of youth.  After that I checked the helpdesk tickets and assigned 2 to fellow IT staff.  Answered the helpdesk phone line – fellow IT staff member needed help with the printer settings for Horizon.

Consulted with our web programmer about navigation and design for our new Intranet.  We looked at Google Analytics to get a feel of what people used the most on our Intranet (that combined with actual feedback from staff should help).

Consulted with fellow IT staff member about helpdesk ticket regarding a broken link in Aquabrowser (the information page in AB had never been updated to reflect the RSS feed page on our new web site which went live over a year ago – GULP!).  Need a better way to keep track of all our links out there.

LUNCH!! finally

Assigned another helpdesk ticket.  Got a call from the editor of our Highly Recommended blog about linking a contributor’s name.

Guess my confidence from earlier was a bit premature.  I updated our TeenZine (which isn’t a true blog but does use WordPress).  This time things did not go well. Not sure if I missed some files in the update or what.  Was seeing strange results even though I did get the right messages during the upgrade process.  Cleared cache and refreshed browser and still had odd displays.  Asked web programmer for help – he watched me do the upgrade for the 4th time – something about him standing there must have done the trick.  But even he saw the odd display and seems like things took several minutes to display correctly.  It’s all good in the end.

Called the Information Services Supervisor regarding the voice mail she had left me that morning – left her a voice mail.

Emailed username/password for our Staff Intranet to staff member so they could add content.

Assigned to myself and closed helpdesk ticket regarding an email from a customer letting us know that the wording on one of our PACs screen savers was wrong.  We had already fixed this so I contacted the customer via email thanking her for catching this and letting her know we fixed it.

Cleaned up a bounce of AOL accounts that had marked us as spam.  Trying to get the message out there that when you sign up for a library card and give us your email account you will receive notices via email.  Do not mark us as a spammer – you agreed to receive notices from us.  Some reason the AOL users don’t remember this more than any other email user.

Went ahead and updated our last blog (our main one and the one that I was most scared about) to the latest version of WordPress.  It was my biggest worry but things went smoothly.  WHEW!

Past time for me to go home.  Off to get my son, walk dogs, take some photos, fix dinner and possibly get a little Lost season 2 watching done.

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A Day in the Life – Take Two

day in the life: and the colored girls sang do...
Image by emdot via Flickr

The 2nd Annual Library Day in the Life started today. Same rules apply – “whether you are a librarian or library worker of any kind, help us share and learn about the joys and challenges of working in a library.” So after a full day of work, walking of the dogs, mowing part of our 2 acres, fixing dinner and cleaning up I finally sat down to watch “The Hunting Party” episode of  season two of Lost while I put my notes into a blog post.

Monday July 27, 2009

Got to work just before 7:30 am to find that I wasn’t the only early bird this morning.  Julian Clark (who is also participating in this via Twitter – @julian2) was in before me and already hard at work.

  • Swapped out the backup tapes and exchanged last week’s set for the new set for both the Horizon and the Authority Works servers.
  • Put a new sheet up for the server room temperature sheet (librarian in charge has to record the temp once a day to ensure the servers stay cool)
  • Unforward the helpdesk phone line (gets forward after hours to one of IT’s cell phones)
  • Performed the morning duties for Monday
  • Headed to Staff Lounge to get a mug full of ice for my homemade green tea with lime
  • Settled into my desk – logged into both my Ubuntu and Windows machines
  • Checked voice mail – one call from the Head of Collection Services in response to a question about what we do when titles are no longer available from OverDrive
  • Checked email (both work and Gmail)
  • Checked to see if there any pending helpdesk tickets to assign (luckily there were none)
  • Using Twirl I Twittered about Library Day in the Life (smiled when armylibrarian retweeted my tweet about Library Day in the Life)
  • Sent email (per Central Library Manager’s request) to rest of the Howard County Library signage committee about the cool picture I found of Seattle Public Library’s call no. floor mats
  • Checked Flickr, Facebook and Twitter and rss feeds (social|median and RWW)
  • Dugg a couple of worthy articles
  • Updated Online Request a title for your bookclub form on library’s web site
  • Reviewed Si fStaff Intranet) for submissions that may need to be published  and cleaned up expired announcements
  • Went to our Miller Branch to take the last Library101 photos
  • Got back to Central Library about 15 minutes after we had opened (due to budget restrictions we are now opening at 10 am instead of 9 am) and got one of the few remaining parking spaces (we are loved!)
  • Worked on email bouncebacks notices (always a lot after the weekend) – remove the address from customer’s account, put block on the account asking for an updated email address
  • Responded to email from the Executive Director and CEO about how to get an important presentation to the architects before the 1pm meeting
  • Took call from librarian at the main information desk – problem with receipt printer and trapping hold – conflict between the printer and keyboard
  • Just got back to desk when the fiction desk called with a problem – not sure what happened as they said they couldn’t trap hold but when I was there had no problem (didn’t hear anything more from them about this issue)
  • Queued up several Tweets for the library’s official Twitter account – @HoCo_Library
  • Email to head of collection services about removing titles from catalog that aren’t part of Overdrive anymore.
  • Closed 2 helpdesk tickets regarding customer question and error message with OverDrive – one could have been found by looking through the help section
  • Finally some lunch and my guilty pleasure of playing Bejeweled Blitz on Faceboo
  • Answered IM question from librarian about OpenOffice and adding page numbers.   Found answer by Googling – gee, why didn’t the librarian do that?
  • Wrote another Tweet for the library’s official account
  • Edited and uploaded images I took at Miller Branch for Library101 video project
  • Wrote post for Open Source blog – waiting review
  • Sent email to staff that had pictures taken for library101 w/link to Flickr
  • Resized library101 images and uploaded to facebook
  • Updated email alias and closed helpdesk ticket – didn’t need to update – realized I forgot to update the mailing list (not just the group in Deksnow)
  • Worked on some AOL bounced backs – people forget that they sign up for email notices from the library then they mark us as spam
  • Closed another helpdesk ticket about OverDrive – seems like the problems come in batches
  • Fixed email mailing list so all names display on staff intranet
  • Investigated how we managed to have Maryland spelled incorrectly on one of our PAC screensavers for the last couple of yrs.
  • Surfing web sites to get ideas for navigation for our new staff intranet – using stumbleupon

After 3:30 pm so it’s time to go home.  WHEW, what a day.

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More Than a Marriage of Convenience

car_just_married
Oh joy, joy.  Oh, happy day.  Thanks to corephp‘s tweet I am in 7th heaven.  Two of my favorite open source products just got married.  WordPress is now available for Joomla 1.5.  This couldn’t come at a better time since I’ve been working on a Joomla 1.5 for our Choose Civility (this is the old site) initiative at Howard County Library.  Ron Nicodemus, of Nicodemus Communications Group, had suggested that we include a blog for the new Choose Civility site.  Originally we had wanted to use the blog component inherent in Joomla but to be honest it isn’t the greatest.

I have installed, maintained and tweaked 6 WordPress blogs for the library.  I use WordPress.com for my own blog.  So needless to say having WordPress be a part of Joomla (been involved with 5 Joomla sites for work) is a dream come true.  This is a great marriage and I look forward to celebrating their union.  Mazal tov!

Comrades in Arms

Yesterday we had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with 7 of our colleagues from the Eastern Shore Regional Libraries.  As comrades in the Open Source it was great to hear what they have done (Zimbra, Evergreen) and share our stories as well (DeskNow, Koha, Groovix).  We also had a conference call with Michael Pardee, creator of Open-Sense Solutions, so they could speak with him about our PAC desktop and staff desktop.  It was really great to see what we had in common besides our interest in open source.  Libraries no matter what the size or demographic of their customers still experience some basic commonality.

My boss, Amy De Groff, suggested a wonderful idea – that our two groups meet quarterly.  Let’s interact, let’s collaborate, let’s exchange ideas and help each other.  Very much what open source is based on.  Kismet that 2 ladies from ESRL as well as my boss and our web programmer will be presenting at Computers in Libraries 2009 (back to back presentations).  We look forward to forging this new partnership with our fellow open sourcers on the Eastern Shore (whether or not we can come over during crab season or not).

Amendment to the Bill of Rights

I hereby suggest that my country’s Bill of Rights be amended. If the Bill of Rights is about freedom then there is one amendment seriously lacking (no offense to our forefathers they could not have seen this coming). Freedom of browser, web browser that is. I am not one of those open source fanatics that insists you only use Firefox or Opera but I do insist you allow me the right to choose my browser and have your site work correctly in it.

Gone are the days of only one name in the game. It is time for the web-so-called-masters to wake up. Code to web standards and not only will your site work in the browser of my choice but it can be accessible by all. It isn’t that hard to do. Why on earth would you limit the audience you are trying to reach? Are you that ignorant to think that only Internet Explorer is the only choice out there? Come to the Howard County Library and you’ll find it isn’t even an option. We prefer a much more secure (but not completely invulnerable) Firefox, Flock or Opera. Try convincing all the Mac users out there that use Safari or Firefox on their Macs. If you still think that IE is the only game in town you haven’t been looking lately.

I am completely frustrated by sites that “work best in ….” or “must use Internet Explorer only” (like the Baltimore County web site).   If properly coded your site will work best in ANY BROWSER!  I find it insulting that in this day and age of enlightenment and choice there are still those who think that limiting a site to a browser (or god forbid an operating system) is making the right choice.  Keep on making sites that only work in one browser and I’ll (among others) will keep not using your site.

Ignorance Is Anything But Bliss

My iGoogle home page greeted me with an article on Slashdot that couldn’t be ignored.   When Teachers Are Obstacles to Linux in Education article is based on the Blog of helios.   As I read the blog and comments I just sit there with my jaw open.  But then I got to thinking about it.  This is a sad but true reality.  Most people who use computers for personal use don’t know the first thing about them.   Odd thing is most people have come to expect things like Blue Screen of Death, having to reboot after every update (which come more and more frequently), slow to operate, expensive software options, a native browser that doesn’t properly handle poorly coded web sites, viruses and malware directly written for a specific operating system to exploit it’s weaknesses – why oh, why should this be acceptable?

People just want it to work.  They don’t want to be “burdened” (I prefer to say enlightened) with learning a bit about the machine they so naively trust to be secure.  Problem is accepting the aforementioned “issues” as the norm is reminds me of the quote from “The Matrix”  It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. I hope that Mr. Starks is able to educate not only this teacher but many others as well.   Linux is the definitely the blue pill – take it and free not only your mind but your operating system.


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Facebook Users Beware

Interestingly enough a friend of mine who is new to Facebook got hit by this virus. It then sent an email to my husband but not me (thankfully). Unfortunately, hubby not only opened the email he clicked on the link 3 times before realizing that something wasn’t just right (virus says you need to update Flash to view video). Then to my horror I find that not only is he not using a firewall on his Windows machine he doesn’t have any anti-virus software. So at 11 pm last night I was downloading Bit Defender and running it (it caught 5 infected files but luckily they were low risk and were disposed of properly).

Thankfully even if I had gotten the email and if I had clicked on the link and if I had downloaded it I would have still been okay. Beauty of using Ubuntu (on desktop as well as laptop) – .exe files don’t work there.

So if you use Facebook keep an eye out for an email that looks legit but actually contains a virus. If you have already opened it – here is how to remove the infection. Or better yet – switch to Linux. 😉


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OCLC is to Microsoft …

… as OpenLibrary is to open source?

There seems to be a bit of buzz about OCLC becoming a monopoly (hence the reference to Microsoft).  So is OpenLibrary the equilvalent of open source?  Well according to their site the software is open, the data is open, the documentation is open, and the site is open.  The more I move around their site and read the more interested in this project I become.  Not being a cataloger I don’t understand all the implications but as someone who supports open source and free access to information this project seems to be one worthy of my attention.

Interested?  You can participate in a couple of ways.  From the OpenLibrary site – how you can help.  Or if you’d like to there is a petition to OCLC that you can sign.

Let my information go!